Mayor to lead skills strategy for London
Education and skills secretary Alan Johnson has announced that the Mayor of London will lead a new Skills and Employment Board designed to drive forward London's economic growth.
As part of the new package of powers announced by the secretary of state for communities and local government Ruth Kelly last Thursday, the Mayor will be given a statutory duty to promote adult skills in London.
The new Board, including London business leaders and representatives of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for London and Jobcentre Plus, will aim to help equip Londoners with the skills that best meet employers' needs.
The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) said the Board will determine the London strategy for Post 19 adult skills, build on and work within the framework of national skills targets, address London's specific needs and drive the spending decisions of the LSC in London.
While the Board will have responsibility for the strategic direction of adult skills in London, the DfES said that operational and executive issues, and the management of the delivery arrangements for skills, will remain the responsibility of the LSC.
Alan Johnson said: "London is a world class city that needs world class skills. And employers need to be at the centre of providing the right skills for our economy. Our Further Education White Paper outlined a greater role for business in shaping training and guidance for colleges.
"We are delighted that the Mayor is helping to make this happen in London and are confident that he will be a powerful champion for skills and will be able to use his influence to involve more employers in the delivery of skills for the Capital."
The announcement follows the Government's consultation on additional powers for the Greater London Authority launched by David Miliband, secretary of state at the office of the deputy prime minister in November 2005. Appointments to the Board and an implementation group will be announced in the autumn.
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: "I welcome the Government's commitment to establish the Skills and Employment Board for London which provides us with a great opportunity to work with business, employers and trainers to ensure all Londoners can contribute to and benefit from London's economic prosperity."
The DfES said the LSC's annual adult skills budget of approximately £420 million per year for London will be separately identified and accounted for by the LSC within in its national budget.
Chair of the LSC, Chris Banks said: "This is a great opportunity for London and the LSC welcomes the creation of the new Board and the Mayor's new role as champion for skills in London. We want to see the Mayor's economic strategy for London and the views of employers informing the way skills are planned and delivered in London.
"The focus of the Board will be on adult skills. The LSC will work closely with the Board, the London boroughs and other key groups to ensure that we meet the needs of Londoners and London employers."
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